Touro Synagogue only Jewish awardee of National Fund for Sacred Spaces

Touro Synagogue of New Orleans is one of 16 congregations, and the only Jewish congregation, selected to join the National Fund for Sacred Places, a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

As a 2020 awardee, Touro Synagogue can expect to receive at least $125,000 from the National Fund for Sacred Places based on the capacity to double match funds as they launch a capital campaign in 2021.

Partners for Sacred Places did a feasibility study for Touro last fall, and in February issued a summary that envisions a possible capital campaign of $2.3 million to $2.5 million.

Capital projects will include the replacement of flat roofs over the social hall and chapel, a new HVAC system, all-gender bathrooms, an elevator in the education building, reconfigured office space, and preservation work.

As a part of this grant program, Touro is receiving wraparound support services and training.

“Organizations like Touro Synagogue have a true commitment to service, offer tremendous civic value to their community, and are well poised to grow and thrive in the future,” said Bob Jaeger, president of Partners for Sacred Places. “We look forward to working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Touro Synagogue to restore their building, help preserve an important piece of history, and support the expansion of their community offerings.”

Rabbi Katie Bauman, senior rabbi at Touro, said “In the entire world, there is no place like the city of New Orleans. And in the city of New Orleans, there is no place like Touro Synagogue. The majesty and sanctity of our building on St. Charles Avenue is a reflection of the exquisite inner landscape of our congregation. Our community is loving, engaged, and committed both to preserving the elegance of our cherished and historic landmark and strengthening our beloved New Orleans in every way we know. We are so honored that Touro Synagogue has been recognized by the National Fund for Sacred Places, and we look forward to the exciting journey of historic renewal ahead of us.”

The building, designed by Emile Weil, was dedicated in 1909. The religious school building was added in 1928, and the multi-purpose addition was completed in 1963. In 2019, the sanctuary was renovated in honor of Betty Kohn’s 95th birthday.